An innovative “closed loop” ethanol plant in Nebraska shut down last week as the company filed bankruptcy, according to a report in the Omaha World Herald.
E3 BioFuels opened in June as a model for using energy from biogas derived from cattle manure and cellulosic biomass to power the plant. Manure from 28,000 head of cattle in a nearby feedlot was used to make methane that fueled the plant. Distillers grain, a byproduct of ethanol production, was then fed to the cattle. As a result, almost no fossil fuels would be used and carbon emissions from the manure were minimized.
However, the plant has been plagued by mechanical problems which has kept it from reaching full capacity.
“It’s a temporary shutdown,” said E3 spokesman R. J. Wilson. “With the mechanical failures hampering us, it has made it difficult to be profitable.”
The technology for the closed-loop system is sound, Wilson said.
“It was simply a mechanical failure which was beyond our control.”
Wilson said E3 BioFuels expects to file lawsuits against construction contractors.